September 8, 2010
The Associated Press has learned that the peanut industry executive whose filthy processing plants were blamed in a salmonella outbreak two years ago that killed nine people and sickened hundreds more is back in the business.
Stewart Parnell, the former president of the now-bankrupt Peanut Corp. of America in Lynchburg, Virginia, is working as a consultant to peanut companies as the federal government's criminal investigation against him has languished for more than 18 months.
Congressional investigators uncovered e-mails in which Parnell once directed employees to "turn them loose" after samples of peanuts had tested positive for salmonella but were cleared in a second test.
Parnell invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before Congress in February 2009.